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As social networks continue to grow, being active on them can be risky. You often don’t know half the people that follow you, and you could even have someone stalking you.
This possibility is especially terrifying on media-only platforms like Instagram which are engineered to urge you and others to discover more users by putting your pictures and videos on display through the Explore tab.
However, it is possible to enjoy a more private Instagram experience.
1. Unlink Your Facebook Profile
There’s a good chance that you’re active on Facebook and Instagram for different purposes. The former enables you to stay in touch with your family and friends, while the latter is probably more for updates you’re not comfortable sharing with people you know in real life.
Therefore, the first step towards a more isolated Instagram experience is to unlink your Facebook profile from Instagram. That way Facebook won’t be able to inter-share both your profiles’ data to, for instance, let your acquaintances on Facebook know you’re on Instagram.
To unlink your Facebook account from Instagram, head over to your Instagram profile page. There, tap the hamburger icon situated on the top right corner and enter Settings. Scroll down until you find Linked Accounts and click Facebook. Now tap the Unlink button and you’re all set.
2. Set Your Instagram Account to Private
The ultimate option to cocoon yourself away from Instagram’s huge userbase is to simply make your account private. You can then cherry pick who can follow you and view your stories or posts.
To turn your Instagram profile private, go into the Settings and switch on the Private Account option. Do note that your existing followers won’t be affected, therefore you may want to check on your Followers list to ensure only the people you know have access to your gallery.
3. Pick and Choose Your Close Friends
Private profiles come with their own downsides. You won’t have a large follower count or users like your relatives might constantly bug you to let them in.
To counter those issues, we recommend curating a Close Friends list through which you can share your stories to a specific set of users without upsetting the rest of your followers. This feature makes sure you can share more personal moments without worrying about your parents or even strangers watching them, all while still maintaining a public profile.
To configure the list, tap the Close Friends option located in your profile’s hamburger menu. Under the Your List tab, add or remove your close friends. The page even has a Suggestions tab where Instagram recommends users for you to add to the Close Friends list based on how frequently you interact with them.
Once done, you will have a green option before publishing a new story. Select that to share it only with users who are in your Close Friends list. In addition, down the road, if you want to remove a person from the list, you can do so easily since Instagram won’t alert them.
4. Take Control of Your Stories
If you’d like to establish more stringent rules for who can watch or even reshare your stories, there are a ton of options for that too. To access them, head into Story Controls inside Settings. To block any user from viewing your stories, add them through the first option.
You can also disable sharing that lets anyone reshare your stories or forward them as direct messages. If you have a public profile, you even have the ability to ban replies from everyone or a specific set of people.
5. Disable Your Activity Status
Unlike Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, you’re most likely not using Instagram DMs for anything more than forwarding pictures and memes to your friends. Hence, there’s clearly no need for the last-seen status on Instagram and it’s best for you to switch it off. The option to disable the last-seen status on Instagram is located at Settings > Activity Status.
6. Tweak Your Comment Controls
With over a billion users, Instagram can be occasionally negative and spammy just like every other social network. If your profile faces these issues far too often, try tweaking your comment controls.
Instagram lets you decide who can and cannot comment on your pictures. You could go either way—create a whitelist if you only want a few people leaving comments on your posts or a blacklist for prohibiting some users and allowing the rest. The option to do this is situated in settings under Comment Controls. What’s more, you can enable filters for automatically hiding offensive comments or manually add a set of words and phrases you’d like to block.
7. Stop Automatic Posting
By default, Instagram automatically appends pictures or videos you’re tagged into your profile’s rightmost tab. Sometimes, however, these posts are simply spam or pictures you simply don’t like. To review these before they’re added to your profile, disable the Add Automatically option in the Photos and Videos of You settings. You can even remove existing tagged pictures of you.
8. Hide Your Whereabouts
Your location is one of the most sensitive pieces of information social apps like Instagram and the people on it can exploit. Therefore, it’s safer to avoid geo-tagging your posts and even granting the GPS permission to Instagram.
On iOS devices, this can be done by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and on Android, it’s located at Settings > Security & Location.
Pro tip: To grant temporary permissions to an Android app, try Bouncer. It can automatically revoke permissions as soon as you leave a particular app.
Is Instagram Spying on You?
By applying these measures, you should be able to enjoy a more private experience on Instagram. But there are still a few more ways Instagram is spying on you. If you’re not comfortable with this, the only option left open to you is to leave the platform altogether.